What does the top number of our BP mean? How about the bottom number?
A person's BP is usually expressed in terms of the systolic pressure and diastolic pressure (mmHg), for example 120/80. In this example, 120 is the systolic pressure and the lower number is diastolic. [ For each heartbeat, BP varies between systolic and diastolic pressures. Systolic pressure is peak pressure in the arteries, which occurs near the end of the cardiac cycle when the ventricles are
contracting. Diastolic pressure is minimum pressure in the arteries, which occurs near the beginning of the cardiac cycle when the ventricles are filled with blood. Systolic and diastolic arterial BPs are not static but undergo natural variations from one heartbeat to another and throughout the day (in a circadian rhythm). They also change in response to stress, nutritional factors, drugs, disease, exercise, and momentarily from standing up. Sometimes the variations are large. ]
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